During the regular season, Oceanside defeated Syosset in a pair of close Conference 1 softball games with a combined run differential of just three.
On Friday afternoon, in the first round of the Nassau Class AA playoffs, the third time proved a charm for the Braves with pitcher Nicolette Ferrara and a consistent lineup starring. Ferrara struck out 10 and fifth-seeded Syosset’s bats pounded out 12 hits in a 5-2 victory at No. 4 Oceanside.
The Sailors, who edged Syosset 8-6 March 29 and 3-2 April 26, managed to get the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh before Ferrara recorded the final out on a fly to deep center. Sophomore Christina Vlahakis, one of Oceanside’s three All-County honorees, went 2-for-3, and classmates Riley Moylan and Maya Levy scored runs.
“With a young team like ours you never know what you’re going to get every day,” Sailors coach Carlo Quagliata said. “We didn’t have any seniors and the season was up and down. We saw and beat their pitcher twice this year, but not this time. I know our girls tried their best. We just didn’t have a good day.”
Syosset, which advanced to face top-seeded East Meadow in the semifinals, scored an unearned run in the first inning and led Oceanside throughout. The visitors scored three runs, one unearned, in the second to take a 4-0 lead. Natalie Socci and Alison Predmore had RBI singles.
The hosts got on the board in the bottom of the second. Levy, who flashed a smooth glove and strong arm at shortstop, drew a leadoff walk and promptly stole second. With two outs, freshman Erin Murray doubled in Levy to make it 4-1.
The defense behind junior Oliva Ikes, who shared pitching duties this spring with sophomore Kate Hyland and freshman Caroline Ferchland, was stellar in a one-two-three top of the third. Levy made a tough grounder look routine for the first out, freshman Riley Brasch made an incredible diving catch at second base for the second out, and freshman Karley Handleman capped the web gems by sticking with a hard grounder to third and firing to first to beat Ferrara by half a step.
Syosset (7-12) pushed across a run in the fourth on Sienna Renny’s run-scoring single and Ferrara cruised through the next three innings before Oceanside put runners on first and second with two outs in the seventh. Ferchland tossed three scoreless innings of relief in the circle.
The Sailors finished 11-10 overall. In addition to Vlahakis, who batted .380 and led them in RBIs, junior center fielder Samantha Chaisson (.350) and junior catcher Sophie Nasturrick (.317) were selected All-County for a second time. Quagliata called Nasturrick the best defense catcher he’s seen.
Levy and Moylan (team-best .410 average) were Honorable Mention All-County. Ferchland earned All-Conference honors.
“We had six award winners and everyone is back next year,” said Quagliata, who noted Oceanside’s big comeback wins over Mepham and Syosset as the season’s highlights.